Dick DeVos didn’t want Grand Rapids to suffer the same fate as Detroit did. The Pontiac Silverdome and the Palace of Auburn Hills were abandoned once the Detroit Lions and Detroit Pistons moved to other buildings. When a plan was put in place for a sports and convention arena back in 1991, DeVos saw a potential disaster waiting to happen.


Rather than stand idly, DeVos moved into action. He ended up making important phone calls to lobby against the idea. DeVos wasn’t interested in just complaining, however. He started a campaign that was crucial in the creation of Van Andel Arena. Along with the arena, the campaign created the medical school at Michigan State University, DeVos Performance Hall, DeVos Place Convention Center, and Grand Rapids City Market.


DeVos has long made efforts to help the community. Back in 2006, he along with his wife, Betsy, donated $12.5 million towards the development of a children’s hospital in Grand Rapids.


There are also DeVos’ efforts in education reform. He founded an aviation charter school inside Grand Rapids International Airport. Eventually, the high school grew so big that it had to get its own building. DeVos is proud of the high school for being able to give kids from lower-income families a chance to learn about the aviation industry.


The DeVos family has made strong pushes in the school choice movement. Thanks to their efforts, over 24 states have private school vouchers. This has enabled many families the ability to send their kids to a school of their choice rather than being forced to settle for a public school. With her efforts in the school choice movement, DeVos has chosen to be the U.S. Secretary of Education under the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump.